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Yoga and Food


Posted by Nirmala N.

In yogic tradition, food is split up into three different categories that explain their essence and effect on your body and mind: Sattvic, Rajasic, and Tamasic.

Sattvic foods are considered the most pure, as they are fresh, chemical-free, and usually come straight from the source--this includes fruits and veggies, grains, nuts, honey, and milk. These foods are thought to enhance serenity and promote health. Rajasic foods, in turn, are usually spicy and stimulating--this includes caffeine, all meat, eggs, and powerful spices. They are thought to agitate the mind and body and make you more aggressive. Then there are Tamasic foods--which are generally highly processed and addictive. Tamasic foods include frozen dinners (yes, even frozen vegetables), anything canned or in a box, chemically processed food, and any food that has been sitting around for a while. Tamasic foods are believed to enhance laziness, compulsion and overemphasize pleasure. Not surprisingly, Tamasic foods makes up the majority of what many Westerners eat.

All three types of foods have their place in a balanced diet, but most of us in the west consume too much Rajasic food, and too much Tamasic food!

 
Comments (5)
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I've always wondered what was 'bad' about spicy foods. I happen to LOVE spicy food. I haven't yet found a good explanation for this. Do you know anything more about the philosophy?
Very interesting post, Nirmala! Thanks for the insight. Gives me something to strive for!

Lela,

This is kind of funny information, considering it hails from ancient Indian culture and we all know Indians have a penchant for eating lotsa spices. :)

Tamasic foods are generally considered the worst, but I think that Ayurveda generally posits that balance is crucial. Rajasic, or spicy, foods aren't bad in and of themselves--it's when they become predominant in a person's diet that one's guna (body and spiritual composition) gets all thrown out of whack.

Also, depending on what your guna is, you might need to eat more spicy foods than folks with different gunas. For instance, if your body tends to run cold/clammy, warm or spicy foods tend to be better for the system. This is partly why I think I'm more suited to consuming Rajasic foods more often than, say, Sattvic ones.

Good post - these three categories also indicate the kind of mental disposition a person has. The goal would be to become more "sattvic." We live in a primarily "rajasic" world here in the west - very overly mental and agitated. One of the yogic traditions I study - Sivananda - discusses these qualities. The reason why they don't use onions or garlic in Sivananda vegetarian recipes is precisely because they are too "rajasic."

Great post and good information-Food is split up into three different categories that explain their essence and effect on your body and mind: Sattvic, Rajasic, and Tamasic.All three types of foods have their place in a balanced diet and gives us good health to grow and develop our cells and tissues to improve our body health and overcome and avoid the diseases as well.

 

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